American Nightmares Review: Danny Trejo's Top Hat Tomfoolery
Updated: Apr 17
Dir: Darin Scott & Rusty Cundieff
Release Date: 2018
“Mr. Malevolent hacks into two millennials' computers and forces them to watch horror tales.”
Horror anthology movies are pretty hit and miss when it comes to quality. On one hand you have the Tales from the Crypt, the Creepshows and Trick R Treat and even V/H/S but, on the other hand, you have things like this where they try to squeeze 7 story segments AND a wraparound story into 90 minutes which didn’t work at all for me.
Obviously, it would help if some of the segments were any good but, in this effort, they are not. The Directing duo also wrote the film and somehow roped some recognisable faces to join them in their endeavours. Here is my review and it is quite long……
Wraparound: 2 young guys sit in a basement in front of numerous screens showing various scenes of mostly porn and chat shit about being hackers when suddenly the screens go fuzzy and Danny Trejo appears in a top hat.
I would suggest that this one of the last things you would like to see if you were in the middle of watching porn yet there he is. Sitting in a big leather chair, wearing a ridiculous suit and a top hat. Opposite him is an old woman muttering some shit. After some laughing from Trejo (he laughs a lot in this, all fake, head thrown back, and usually at his own shit jokes between each segment) the old woman hands him stuff. He puts it on the table and we have a story segment. This happens before each one. Awful CGI titles and various connected words appear across the Hacker screens and off we go.
Segment 1 - MATES Item presented: A Rose
Two black women sit by a swimming pool (lots of visible flies in this scene which is irrelevant but noticeable and probably uncomfortable) and discuss that one is being stalked by her ex. She then proves it by showing her friend, and us, a short clip on her phone of a man overacting and shouting at her. Her friend tells her she doesn’t need that shit, which is what a friend should say, and that men are trouble, which is what friends always say. She responds by telling her she likes the dick. They then both laugh and make um-hmmm noises and we fade to black until next morning.
She receives a note offering ‘Free Sample of a Dating Site’ and is required to describe perfect man. She does so, writing the usual, handsome, caring, sense of humour and then writes ‘big d…..’ makes another comment to herself about needing that dick and we cut to her date. It goes well and they go back to hers for some ridiculous sex noises. Next morning, during some pillow talk, the guy stops still, lights up from his eyes and mouth and a voice says ‘Free Sample Expired’ or something to that effect. HE'S A FUCKING ROBOT!!!
She is confused but doorbell rings and in walks her ex, overacting from the start. Tells her it was HIM who sent her the free sample to prove that her standards are too high and there is no such thing as a perfect man. Odd methods but did it work? Of course not. He then starts to beat her up. She scrambles to her laptop, enters her card details, pays a $5k subscription and her robot guy reactivates and comes to save the day. Her ex shoots him but it ricochets and kills himself instead. The robot then explains about it being a ricochet in case we hadn’t noticed it. He tells the woman she is entitled to a refund but she says no and they go to dispose of the corpse. THE END!
Segment 2 – THE PROSECUTOR Item Presented: A Gavel
Crab Man from My Name is Earl (can’t remember his character name from this movie) is convicted of killing his wife and 2 young children by an overacting prosecutor and we get to see some seemingly unnecessary photos of them lying, holding hands, in pools of blood. Seems a shame because Crab Man always seemed a chilled-out guy in Earl but, hey, people have their demons, right?
Caption reads: 4 years later.
The prosecutor is now overacting whilst running for Governor and resting it all on him being the guy who secured most executions ever in Texas. On the day of Crab Man’s execution, new evidence from an eyewitness emerges to suggest he was innocent all along. He dismisses this and tells the witness to leave and never return. Of course, she does exactly that, gets in a taxi and is not heard of again.
Prison scenes of execution being readied but is all as it should be…..? Thunderstorm!! The prosecutor gets a call saying that Crab Man has escaped! No way!? Lights go out in the house and the prosecutor shouts for family and goes to get his gun. Lots of fast edits of noises, turning, gun pointing and lightning flashes ensue and eventually the prosecutor fires gun at Crab Man and falls unconscious. He awakens to scenes of Police and EMT in his house where he tells his story. Pans out and he is handcuffed. His P.A. arrives and explains that he never rang to say Crab Man had escaped and adds that he was executed as planned. Family laid out exactly as we saw in previous Courtroom photos.
Cut to Prosecutor being given lethal injection and screaming.
Segment 3 – WHITE FLIGHT Item Presented: Confederate Flag
A massively over the top racist accepts a delivery whilst unnecessarily abusing the delivery guys. One recognises him as a disgraced cop who was filmed beating a black guy, something of which he appears quite proud. He goes back inside and reels off a list of every racist redneck cliché in the book before revealing the item delivered was, of course, a teleportation device looking like it is made of tin foil and various pots and pans.
He, his wife, daughter and baby somehow then teleport themselves into the desert to a place called White Fork. Beneath the Town name, the welcome sign lovingly states, “No Blacks Allowed. Ever”.
They go to introduce themselves only for the old guy who runs the Gas Station to sound the alarm and shout “Blacks!” for about a solid minute while other Aryan looking people who were just standing around in town start to approach. Apparently, the rule is no BLACK HAIR!!! Oh, such clever irony.
Anyway, a black guy with a blonde wig on (irony upon irony!) shoots his wife and daughter with a laser gun and they die. They then take the baby, put it in a bag and smash it against the gas pumps for a bit while the guy falls to knees and cries “Noooooooooooooooooo”. The racist guy ends up in prison for being with a ‘Black’. THE END!
Segment 4 – THE SAMARITAN Item Presented: Clown Nose
A pimp and his hooker head to a client’s apartment to be greeted by a guy hooked up to a portable oxygen tank.
Client wants her to dress like a clown, which is agreed to for more money. Pimp decides to stay in case the guy dies during the time but actually just to look for and steal any money hidden around the place.
The prostitute gets ready and I’m not sure if the makeup was directed by the client or she just instinctively made herself look like a sexy Halloween clown but she heads to a closet which is filled with balloons. A ghost appears (also a sexy female clown though without eyes) in a jump scare and tells her she can speak if she holds the hooker’s crucifix.
Not having any of that shit, the hooker runs off.
The pimp is killed during all of this but it happens off screen and nobody notices.
The client now reappears after also ‘getting ready’ and is dressed as a clown with a bag on his head (?!). From his groin, a large balloon is inflated, and he approaches whilst she is scared.
The balloon dick turns into a sword and he tries to stab her only for her to move and him stab the door behind her.
It is hardly the best weapon to be using but he has committed to it and will see it through.
The ghost turns up again, grabs the crucifix and her and the hooker snap his sword dick off and proceeds to thrust it up his clown ass until he is dead.
Hooker gifts the ghost the crucifix. THE END!
Segment 5 – HATE RADIO Item Presented: Photo Frame
A totally non-pc and deliberately offensive radio host tells his listeners not to be ‘libtards’, makes misogynistic comments, chats about a serial killer called ‘The Chopper’ who is killing women and how the snowflake generation and blah blah blah.
On a political slant, the guy looks like Trump and receives a photo of himself in front of the American flag.
Once home, he also receives a photograph of himself in front of the same flag but wearing a blonde curly wig and dressed all camp.
He actually looks like a fat Robert Plant but this is not the point.
He hates that photo, smashes it and bins it immediately and takes a shower. When he gets out of the shower, he sees the same photo again in his bathroom. He is furious but his OTT rage is disturbed by his hair suddenly growing and becoming like that in the photo.
He grows tits (the prosthetics are a totally different colour to his actual skin) which look ridiculous.
His cock and balls also fall off and onto the floor. He runs outside in a panic and faints in the street.
A guy in a van is driving past and rushes to help (you’ll never guess who he is) this now totally transformed and an actual actress. Turns out the helpful man is The Chopper!!
The woman has the same voice as when she/he was the presenter, which is ridiculous, claims to be the DJ and the Chopper doesn’t believe him/her.
He instantly fires up a blowtorch and burns her/his face off.
Segment 6 – THE HEALER Item Presented: A Crucifix
An evangelical preacher called Bishop Love (possibly a porn name similar to an old boss of ours’ only Facebook ‘friend’ called Granny Love who, in turn, was friends with Dick Love but I digress) who is only interested in book sales and selling some fake water being marketed as, ‘Jesus’ Tears’, has a promo video where he lays his hands upon ill people and shouts, “Perfection revealed”, for them to make a recovery in the name of the Lord.
Anyway, on the way to a hooker, Bishop Love is abducted by an old man who drugs him and takes him to his van, tells him that his daughter wasted away while spending the last of her last money on Jesus’ Tears until she died and then reveals that the corpse of his daughter is lying in the van with them.
Her corpse seems to still emit tears and he collects them and makes the Bishop drink them. He then takes on all ills from the old man, his assistant turns up and he can now see clearly while the Bishop needs glasses, his other assistant turns up and her facial scar has now gone and is borne by the Bishop.
He shoots the old man but the gunshot appears in his own leg. We then get a scene like the lepers on the mountain in Jesus Christ Superstar only for them to disperse when dead girl wakes up, walks over and the Bishop dies. THE END!
Segment 7 – THY WILL BE DONE Item Presented: Baby Rattle
A girl meets a consultant in a hospital. She leaves and is instantly abducted by a woman and two guys.
In broad daylight.
Turns out the hospital meeting was about an abortion her abductors are big religious types who don’t like that kind of thing and have taken her to save the child. She explains that she was raped and the child will be bad but they are having none of it and tell her that God will decide.
Apparently 9 months they have held her and she eventually gives birth……..to a little CGI monster!!!
It clings to the wall, jumps on the floor and then grows immediately into a fully grown black guy with horns who says he will impregnate them all and they will die.
One of the guys mentions he is a guy and can’t get pregnant, to which the horns guy cleverly says that God will decide.
During all of this rubbish, we have been revisiting the hackers and Trejo and, towards the end, a trio of scantily clad lesbians who seem to be trying to summon something via a Satanic ritual.
At the end, the hackers are attacked by a demon which bites their heads off very quickly while the lesbians look out of the screens and laugh at the whole thing. We then have Trejo put us out of our misery by looking directly into the camera and saying that the most terrifying story of all is about to happen and it’s about YOU!!
Trust me, Trejo, it has already happened. There is a freeze-frame and a very slow-motion zoom onto his face.
FAVOURITE CHARACTER: The 3 scantily clad lesbians
FAVOURITE MOMENT: NONE
Trejo: “That gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, ‘robotic love’”
Like that is even a phrase anyone has ever used.
FAVOURITE DEATH: The blow torch to the face in Hate Radio